Nissrin Muhammad, Iraq, “My mother was killed for not wearing a veil”

Nissrin Muhammad, 19, is trying to take care of her two-month-old brother, Abdul-Aziz, after her mother was killed a few weeks ago for not wearing a veil.
(Afif Sarhan/IRIN)

Nissrin Muhammad, 19, an economics student, says she is desperate and does not know what to do with her two-month-old brother, Abdul-Aziz, after her mother was killed a few weeks ago for not wearing a veil.

Being the oldest daughter and with a handicapped father (he lost an arm years ago in an industrial accident), Nissrin was forced to leave college to look after her youngest brother and their home. She depends on her other two younger brothers, aged 14 and 16, to work and bring food to the family. One works as a cleaner and the other sells things in the streets.

“My mother was killed leaving my infant brother without milk. I really don’t know what to do as he won’t take powdered milk and we cannot move around our neighbourhood to look for a woman who could breast-feed him.

“I stay awake all night crying because I lost my mother for such an idiotic thing.

“One day she went out to buy some stuff for him and she left him with me at home. She went out as she always used to and extremists just shot her dead in the middle of the street. According to witnesses, they were shouting that this would be the fate of all women that don’t wear a veil.

“It was a shock to my whole family. No one expected that this lovely woman would one day die for such a foolish thing, that she would lose such a beautiful life because of a piece of cloth.

“Since my mother was killed on 18 June, my father left his job as a cook in a restaurant. He just stays at home crying for my mother and drinking alcohol, things he never did before.

“The extremists have destroyed our life. My brothers and I had to stop studying, my father quit work and Abdul-Aziz is suffering from malnutrition because he won’t take powdered milk.

“I hope I can find a woman who can breast feed my brother and keep him alive. I would give him to someone to stop him dying.”

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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